As the game of musical chairs surfaces around the college football landscape, with Oklahoma and Texas possibly being on the verge of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the remaining eight teams in the Big 12 could be looking for a new home.
There’s still hope for the Big 12 in some shape or form. The conference is reportedly exploring the idea of giving Texas and Oklahoma a higher revenue share to keep them in the league. Or, the conference could look at expansion. But so much remains up in the air.
However as we all speculate on which team goes where, one of the natural fits for the other eight Big 12 teams has been West Virginia and the ACC. It’s an obvious marriage from a geographical and cultural perspective. They’re right in the neighborhood of many of the ACC teams, plus they have some old rivalries already built in like Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, plus Syracuse and Notre Dame in basketball.
But are we overlooking the obvious question: Does the ACC want West Virginia and what value is provided by WVU?
That’s what ESPN reporter Heather Dinich posed on Sunday. Dinich said on Sportscenter, “West Virginia would certainly be interested in joining the ACC if this falls apart in the Big 12. This is about self-preservation, if this does indeed happen, and everything is expected to snowball quickly. It makes sense financially — from a travel aspect, from geographic location, right? But here’s the thing — the ACC has to want West Virginia.”
Even though Clemson has dominated on the football field, the ACC has had questions and issues regarding revenue. On a per school basis, the ACC is last of the Power 5 Conferences in payouts. Does bringing WVU into the mix fix that in any drastic way? It’s great for the fans, but if there is one thing we know, what the fans want are no longer the driver in college athletics, it’s about money.
Yes, WVU is the flagship program in the state, but still, what is that worth? Those are the questions new commissioner Jim Phillips needs to answer. Also, Dinich added about Phillips, “You can believe that he’s trying to make a last-minute push, maybe for Texas.”
While that seems like a wildly farfetched idea at this point, don’t put anything past the insanity that is college football realignment. So like all of these possibilities, it takes two to tango, and it remains to be seen if the ACC will reciprocate the desire for West Virginia that West Virginia apparently clearly desires for the ACC.